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Many people are surprised that the penalties for Medicaid fraud are so severe. They do not realize that Medicaid applications are signed under penalty of perjury. They do not understand that making a false statement on a Medicaid application is a felony.
As a result, many people are shocked when a Medicaid fraud investigator calls them, or contacts their employer, or sends them a letter asking them to come in for an "interview." They are even more shocked when they learn that they can go to prison for up to five years for lying on a Medicaid application.
In New York City, the letter comes from a Medicaid fraud investigator with the Bureau of Fraud Investigation at the NYC Human Resources Administration. The letter usually asks you to come to 151 West Broadway or 250 Church Street for an "interview." You are asked to bring your tax returns and sometimes other financial and personal records.
Do NOT ignore this letter. If you respond properly to this letter, you can usually avoid serious consequences. But if you ignore the letter, the investigator will send your case to the District Attorney, and you will end up in handcuffs.
Understand that this letter is NOT the beginning of the investigation. This is the end of the investigation. The investigator already thinks you are guilty. They are going to decide whether or not to prosecute you. Anything you say to the investigator at this point can and will be used against you.
Most of all, do NOT lie to the investigator. They already know a lot about you.
The investigator already has all of your applications and re-certifications for Medicaid benefits.
The investigator already knows where you work, whether you own a business, and how much you earn. If you work for a company, the investigator already has your payroll records.
The investigator already knows where you live, who lives with you, whether you own or rent your home, and how much you pay every month for your rent or mortgage. The investigator has been to your home and has pictures of you and the people who live with you.
The investigator already knows if you own or lease a car, how old it is, and how much you pay for it every month.
The investigator already knows where your bank accounts are, and how much money is in those accounts. The investigator also has your credit report showing how many credit cards you have and how much you pay every month on those credit cards.
The investigator does not need you to come in for an "interview." They could send your case to the District Attorney for criminal prosecution right now. The "interview" is both an opportunity and a trap. If you handle the "interview" properly, the investigator may let you negotiate a settlement -- even if you lied on your Medicaid application. On the other hand, the investigator will try to get you to admit that you are guilty.
What should you do?. You should begin by bringing the letter and your tax returns to an experienced Medicaid fraud lawyer. Your lawyer can review your situation, identify the problems, and help you develop a strategy to avoid criminal charges.
To schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Medicaid fraud lawyer, call John Howley, Esq. at (212) 601-2728.
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